Ashok Row Kavi

Renowned Journalist | LGBTQ Rights Activist


A leading advocate for LGBT people and communities in India, Ashok Row Kavi has been a trailblazing activist using his professional experience as a journalist to successfully foster India’s LGBT movement for the last 40 years.

In a journalism career spanning 18 years, Ashok Row Kavi worked in numerous newspapers and magazines, including a few of the largest circulated newspapers like Malayala Manorama (as Western India Bureau-Chief), The Free Press Journal, The Daily and Indian Express. 

Besides, he started India’s first Playboy clone, ‘Debonair’ with his English friend Antony van Braband. He worked on several prize-winning stories like the Bhopal Gas Tragedy and Ambedkar’s controversial book, ‘Riddles of Rama’.

He founded India’s first gay magazine ‘Bombay Dost’ in 1990. 

Since 1990, he has worked on providing a formal platform for homosexuals to become actively involved in public life through media, advocacy, cooperation, institutions and community-building. 

 At present, he is the founder-chairperson of the 'Humsafar Trust', an LGBTQ rights and health services NGO in Mumbai metro, which also fights for the legal emancipation of homosexuality in India. 

Awards and Accomplishments

Awards and Accomplishments

He was the recipient of the ‘Shivananda Khan Award for Extraordinary Achievement’ 2017, in recognition of his 40 years of outstanding service as an LGBT rights activist and HIV advocate.

Ashok Row Kavi was the first to openly talk about homosexuality and gay rights in India in 1984, where he spoke about the “gay construct” and the hidden world of Men-Having-Sex-With-Men(MSM) and male-born sexual minorities like hijras.

 He was also the winner of a special accolade at the HERO Awards fundraising gala. He also received the Ashoka Fellowship in 1994.

Why Ashok Row Kavi ?

Ashok Row Kavi has worked hard on giving the LGBTQ community a formal platform with the help of media, institutions and community building. Kavi is also one of the first to talk openly and freely about LGBTQ rights. He hopes to achieve legal emancipation of gay marriages in India. 

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